You’re in for a bit more than a casual exchange. In these types of situations, there’s a bit more than collecting insurance information or filing a police report. They may be involved in the process, but there are additional measures to be taken when you get in an accident with a commercial vehicle. The steps can be complicated and frustrating, especially when trying to hold the company responsible. There are more moving parts than a regular car accident, and it’s important to understand each procedure in its entirety so you can move forward properly.
You don’t want any loose ends in a situation like this. Slipping through the cracks can result in no compensation for your damages.
File an Incident Report
First and foremost, you’ll need to file an incident report with the company. This report should include as much detail as possible about what happened, including pictures and witness statements if available. It’s also important to collect evidence at the scene of the accident, including company information.
Try to get photos from multiple angles around both vehicles involved so there aren’t any discrepancies between stories when speaking directly with someone else about how the accident occurred – especially if that person isn’t familiar with traffic rules or laws surrounding accidents like this one (e.g., drivers who are new).
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the accident. They will need to investigate the scene and collect evidence.
The report is an official log of your incident and should include the date, time, and location of the accident along with what happened. Use the photographs and videos you’ve taken so you can reference them at any time during your case.
In addition to the incident report you file with the company, you can also file a report with the local police department. Damages in car accidents with commercial vehicles can be extensive, so it’s important to make sure everything is done correctly and fairly. Additional documentation will bolster your claim. Get the names, departments, and badge numbers of any officers that arrive on the scene. Request a copy of the police report so you can review it for accuracy.
Keep in mind that filing a police report is not always required, but can be helpful when you decide to take legal action.
Consult an Attorney
Personal injury counselors like Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you determine how much compensation is reasonable in your case and what evidence will be necessary to prove negligence on behalf of the company. If you decide to take legal action, contact an attorney first. It’s ill-advised to try and mitigate the situation by yourself. There is extensive legal training and knowledge that only an attorney will know.
The company may offer you a settlement, but it’s important to understand the value of your claim before accepting any offers from them. If you aren’t sure how much should be awarded for damages, consult your lawyer first and have them evaluate your case. Consulting with third parties often leads people to a higher settlement.
Keep meticulous records of all contact you have with the company, including dates, times, people spoke to, what was discussed – anything that could help your case. If you sustained any injuries or experienced psychological trauma from the accident and incurred any expenses from medical bills or lost wages, make note of each expense, and request your medical records from your doctor. You can add this documentation to your case.
The company may try to contact you and offer a settlement outside of court. Do not agree to anything without speaking with your attorney first.
Taking legal action against a commercial vehicle is complicated, so it’s important that everything is done right from the beginning and all documents are filed properly. A lawyer will also ensure that all required notices have been sent out according to state laws as well as look over any settlement offers before accepting them on your behalf.
Personal injury attorneys work on contingency fees, meaning they’ll only get paid if they win or settle your case successfully.
Pursue Your Settlement
Once you have everything prepared, it’s time to pursue your settlement. This is usually done by filing a lawsuit in civil court.
In order to win your case, you’ll need to prove that the company was negligent and at fault for the accident. This can be difficult to do without an attorney, as they will have knowledge of specific state laws surrounding accidents like this one.
The company may try to settle outside of court if they believe it’s more financially beneficial for them, but don’t agree to anything until you’ve consulted with your lawyer.
If the case does go to trial, make sure you are prepared – both mentally and physically. Trials can last anywhere from a few days up to several weeks, so be prepared for a long battle.
Your lawyer will take care of the logistics. They will subpoena any witnesses to the accident, present your case to the court, and negotiate any settlements offered by the responsible party.
There are extensive challenges that come with a commercial car accident. Do your research and choose the path that works best for you.